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Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Hot stuff

Is there anything that the Assembly does not dabble in?

National Assembly Members may wish to be aware that the following instrument was made on the 16th February 2004, using the Executive Procedure in accordance with Standing Order 22.27. Standing Order 22.27 (i)-(iv) has been disapplied.

The Food (Hot Chilli and Hot Chilli Products) (Emergency Control) (Amendment) (Wales) Regulations 2004 The Regulations are required to implement European Commission (EC) Decision, of 21 January, which came into force immediately, which amends the Food (Hot Chilli and Hot Chilli Products) (Emergency Control) (Wales) Order 2003 by widening the definition of chilli and chilli products which importers are required to test, to include curry powder.

In May 2003, the Agency was alerted to reports from France of the discovery of the dye Sudan I in hot chilli products originating from India. Sudan I is considered to be a genotoxic carcinogen and its presence in food at any level is not permitted for any purpose. The finding reported by France therefore pointed to an adulteration constituting a serious health risk and France adopted appropriate protective measures. On 20 June, the European Commission adopted Decision 2003/460 that prohibits all imports of hot chilli and hot chilli products of the genus Capsicum, dried and crushed or ground for human consumption, into EU Member States unless accompanied by an analytical report which demonstrates that each consignment does not contain Sudan I. The decision was implemented into UK law on 30 July 2003.

Since adoption of the decision Sudan I has been found to be present in products outside the scope of the decision, and in a small number of cases contamination with other Sudan dyes has been identified. A new Commission decision was adopted on 21 January 2004. It repeals Decision 2003/460 and extends its scope by widening the definition of the chilli and chilli products which importers are required to test to include curry powder.

The Commission Decision of 21 January came into force immediately. To ensure that the health of the population of Wales is protected to the same degree as the rest of the Member States, it was recommended that legislation is introduced as soon as possible.

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